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Thread: Tails of puppy's first hunt

  1. #1
    Junior Member rawdeal's Avatar
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    Default Tails of puppy's first hunt

    This past February I became the proud owner of a yellow lab pup ("Sue") from Deep Run Farm. In just a few days she will have her first birthday.

    This is the story about not just her first hunt, but the first time she ever retrieved a downed bird in the wild.

    To preface, I am not a professional trainer, and Sue has never received professional training of any kind. This dog is the first that I have trained myself, and I did it using various books, DVDs, and advice from this Forum. And, although these were thorough, I assure you, none of them were involved with teaching this dog what I am about to describe. (Not sure you can teach this...)

    About a month ago, I brought Sue to Caddo Lake, in northeast Texas for her first duck hunt. Notably, Caddo (like many good water fowling lakes) has a lot of aquatic vegetation growing above and below the surface of the water. As many of you probably know, there is a longstanding debate among hunters as to whether injured ducks dive down and latch on to such plants to commit suicide, or whether they merely become entangled and drown. Either way, the instances of injured ducks diving and then disappearing are much more prevalent in Caddo than in most other places I hunt. While this often presents a big problem for many hunters, for me--not so much. And here's why:

    About ten minutes after getting Sue all set up for her first hunt, we saw our first action of the day which yielded a fine specimen of a woody. The downed duck we thought to be dead turned out to be injured, and as Sue approached it, sure enough, the bird dove into the brown, murky depths. When it didn’t resurface after a while, we assumed it was gone for good, and tried calling the dog back to the blind. She refused, and then she did something amazing.

    I'm guessing she caught its scent from beneath the water, and with her head cocked as high as she could get it above the water, she swam next to a lily patch (about five feet from where we saw the duck go under), then she dove too! And, I am not talking about simply sticking her head a few inches underwater--she went down into the water, tail and all. After disappearing beneath the surface for about 3-4 seconds, I'll be damned if she didn't come up with that bird in her mouth!

    Even our guide couldn’t believe it. He said he’d been guiding duck hunts for 25 years and he’d never seen anything like it. I have no idea whether it’s commonplace for a dog to retrieve in such a way—I too had certainly never seen it done, or even read about how to teach it.

    Notwithstanding, even if it is something these dogs do regularly, I still think it was pretty remarkable that she pulled it off with her very first attempt at a wild bird.

    photo.jpg
    Pictured: The illusive bird, its persistent pursuer, and her proud owner


    ...Any other good stories about puppy's first hunt?

  2. #2
    Senior Member TonyLattuca's Avatar
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    Congrats. Looks like you have a good hunting partner. How was the ducks up there? I plan on hitting up Caddo and LBJ next season

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    Great story! I've only seen one other dog do that. An old yellow lab that my dad owned. It's pretty awesome. Maybe it's a yellow thing... .

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    Nice! Your pup looks proud!

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    Junior Member rawdeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyLattuca View Post
    Congrats. Looks like you have a good hunting partner. How was the ducks up there? I plan on hitting up Caddo and LBJ next season
    As much as I love the scene at Crip's Camp and Uncertain, TX, if you want to kill ducks, I'd stay away from Caddo until they get that situation with the salvinia weed sorted out. It has gotten so bad that in many places it covers the surface of the water as far as the eye can see in every direction. The birds don't like it and seem to move on in search of water where they can see the surface.

    The bird referenced in my story above was one of the three birds taken in a three-day trip with six hunters. (conveniently, I left that part out--LOL). To give you an idea of the extent of the problem, whenever our guides would drop us at the blinds, they'd have to spend 15-20 minutes doing circles in their boats just to clear the water immediately surrounding the blind. Then, they'd have to come back and do it again every hour or so. Even still, I'm not sure how much good it did.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TonyLattuca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawdeal View Post
    As much as I love the scene at Crip's Camp and Uncertain, TX, if you want to kill ducks, I'd stay away from Caddo until they get that situation with the salvinia weed sorted out. It has gotten so bad that in many places it covers the surface of the water as far as the eye can see in every direction. The birds don't like it and seem to move on in search of water where they can see the surface.

    The bird referenced in my story above was one of the three birds taken in a three-day trip with six hunters. (conveniently, I left that part out--LOL). To give you an idea of the extent of the problem, whenever our guides would drop us at the blinds, they'd have to spend 15-20 minutes doing circles in their boats just to clear the water immediately surrounding the blind. Then, they'd have to come back and do it again every hour or so. Even still, I'm not sure how much good it did.
    Yes that sounds ugly.lol

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    Senior Member Richard Finch's Avatar
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    Congrats Brother!!!! Sounds like you got a ringer on your hands....

    Seen my old boy Gander do that on several occasions, pretty awesome stuff!!!


    Richard
    SHOOT EM' IN THE LIPS..........

    HRCH Otter Sloughs Bronze Gander " Gander"
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    Romans 8:28

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    Senior Member Dogtrainer4God's Avatar
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    Great story, it is of those kind of hunts and retrieves that you never forget.
    A couple of my chocolate dogs do that just to entertain themselves in the small pond in the turnout area. One will spend the whole time diving under the water, barking at it, digging around in the depths. Frog hunting maybe? quite amusing to look at though, and their facial expressions show they are obviously makes them quite pleased with themselves.
    HRCH UH Wolf Creek's Ebonstar Coach "Coach" MH
    HRCH UH Wolf Creek's Candlewood Victory "Tory" MH

    “Any woman who does not thoroughly enjoy tramping across the country on a clear, frosty morning with a good gun and a pair of dogs does not know how to enjoy life.” ~ Annie Oakley

    Do you listen to God as well as your dog listens to you? Can God run "Blinds" with you?

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